Welsh education minister Huw Lewis has unveiled a £20 million initiative to raise pupils' aspirations, expectations and ambitions.
The 'Pupil Offer', a key feature of Schools Challenge Cymru, involves giving schools an 'invitation to innovate' and encouraging them to work more closely with external partner organisations.
This will give youngsters the opportunity to gain new experiences in fields such as the arts, science, sport, culture and heritage.
Over 30 organisations are involved in the initiative, including The Welsh Rugby Union, the Arts Council for Wales and the National Museum.
Pathways to Success schools will now be asked to begin piloting approaches that broaden learners’ horizons, creating opportunities to experience meaningful activities that they might not otherwise have been able to access.
In addition, partner organisations are being encouraged to share their skills, resources and expertise for the benefit of learners.
The Pupil Offer was launched at Heolddu Comprehensive in Bargoed, a Pathways to Success school that, along with Sport Wales, has devised sports-led interventions that have made a significant contribution to whole-school improvements in outcomes and standards.
Mr Lewis said: "We must encourage pupils to succeed by providing experiences that open their eyes to the opportunities that exist beyond the school gates, their homes and their local communities.
"This raising of personal expectations, aspirations and ambitions is an important aspect of Schools Challenge Cymru."
He added that the Pupil Offer has been introduced at this stage in the programme to give institutions the chance to experiment and find out what works best for them. In the following year they will be able to consolidate their approaches.
Mr Lewis has invited all Pathways to Success schools and partner organisations to a national event in January.
This will provide an opportunity for them to meet in a marketplace setting to begin exploring the process of creating mutually beneficial partnerships.
Posted by Tim Colman